The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on Tuesday that it was going ahead on December 14 with its plan to vote in favor of the FCC-proposed rollback of net neutrality rules, put in place by the Obama administration in 2015.
Democrat FCC commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel, has appealed to the people via a Wednesday tweet to “call foul” and “raise a ruckus” in order to save net neutrality. She is one of two Democrats among five FCC commissioners.
So, with two other Republicans on the Commission to vote with him, Pai has a clear majority of three against two in the FCC. But that’s about it!
Time to call foul.
Time to raise a ruckus.
— Jessica Rosenworcel (@JRosenworcel) November 18, 2017
Hillary Clinton tweeted her support to Rosenworcel’s plea, writing, “You go girl! This is important; costs will go up, & powerful companies will get more powerful. We can’t let it slip through the cracks.”
You go girl! This is important; costs will go up, & powerful companies will get more powerful. We can’t let it slip through the cracks. https://t.co/js4agpzKeS
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 22, 2017
The concept of net neutrality faced its first real challenge in May when the FCC voted in favor of repealing/reversing the Internet neutrality law passed by the previous government. The FCC, by the way, is headed by Trump appointee Ajit Pai who, with a majority, has been moving aggressively toward repealing the rule against Internet interference by ISPs.
In July, more than 80,000 websites including tech giants Google, Amazon, and many others had called for a “Day of Action” – in support of net neutrality which the FCC is hell-bent on doing away with.
The protest involved the coming together of tens of thousands of online activists and businesses, big and small, to inform users about the Trump administration’s plans to hand over control of how we access the internet today, to a handful of service providers.
Dismantling the regulations that ensure discrimination-free internet access to all, will give too much power to ISPs (Internet Service Providers) such as Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, and Charter, who will be able to determine and control what users can see online, and at what price and speed. Companies like AT&T are already smacking their lips in anticipation.
AT&T Vice President Joan Marsh’s comment in support of the FCC proposal, therefore, comes as no surprise at all.
“This action will return broadband in the U.S. to a regulatory regime that emphasizes private investment and innovation over lumbering government intervention,” Marsh said.
However, her statement is in contradiction to the change in stance on the Internet neutrality issue that AT&T had shown back in July, stating in a blog post that it would be joining “Day of Action” with TV and print advertisements.
“We agree that no company should be allowed to block content or throttle the download speeds of content in a discriminatory manner,” Bob Quinn, senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs, had said in the post. “So, we are joining this effort because it’s consistent with AT&T’s proud history of championing our customers’ right to an open Internet.”
The organizers of the “Day of Action,” however, did not buy into it.
“This is so ridiculous I’m laughing out loud,” Evan Greer, campaign director for Fight for the Future had said in an e-mail when he was asked for his reaction. “AT&T and other companies like Comcast and Verizon have waged an all-out war on net neutrality protections because they want to be able to charge Internet users and startups extra fees, and squeeze all of us for more money for less Internet.”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that financially strong companies, capable of paying a higher premium to these ISPs, will be given preference over lesser entities – so to speak – in terms of speedier access to their domains and other related advantages.
What’s worse is that the service providers will be in a position to even block or slow down data of rivals with the purpose of hurting them – in a business sense, of course – or with the unethical intention of easing competition for affiliated websites – read paying websites.
Here are some reactions to the ongoing net neutrality issue
#NetNeutrality is critical to ensuring the internet remains a place where people can come together, make their voices heard, & make change. We have to fight back.
— Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) November 21, 2017
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 23, 2017
Call the capitol switchboard (202) 224-3121 and urge your MoC/Senator to stand against the attempts to roll back #NetNeutrality.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) November 23, 2017
Telecom companies are not altruistic. They need laws to restrict their greedy desires -like pedophiles. #NetNeutrality
— alan tudyk (@AlanTudyk) November 22, 2017
— Nick Babick (@nickbabick) November 23, 2017
— Ethan Geyer ♠️ (@_FlyingEagle) November 22, 2017
— JimmyBear 🐻 🏳️🌈 (@JimmyBear2) November 23, 2017
#NetNeutrality is NOT DEAD YET. Congress has stopped FCC votes before. Do NOT give up!
1) RETWEET this to help spread the word that we can still stop this.
2) CALL your lawmakers: https://t.co/S8d0OxZQe0
— Fight for the Future (@fightfortheftr) November 21, 2017